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1998/99 Catalog Cover   1998/99 Woodworking Customer Letter
 
Print Catalog Cover
 
Dear Customer,

In the 21 years we have been putting out catalogs, we have photographed a wide range of subjects for our cover, the majority being tools that were excellent examples of their type. Oddly enough, in the tool collecting market, it is not the best tools that bring the best price, it is the rarest tools that bring the best price. The plane on our cover was patented in 1854 by M. B. Tidey, and this ebony, ivory and brass example is believed to have been the personal property of the inventor. The plane sold at auction for $27,000 US in 1997, to date the highest price brought by a hand plane at any North American auction.

A curious aspect of all of this is that the plane was so specialized as to be nearly useless, even at the time of its invention. It was designed to chamfer the rails and stiles of doors; the brass central shoe would fit in the groove for the door panel and the two independently adjustable wings of the plane would chamfer the inside edges of the rail and stile members at chosen angles.

There are only a half dozen known surviving examples of this plane. Its near uselessness was the root cause of its collecting value because few planes were produced and even fewer survived, contributing to the rarity that brought such a high price.

While we expect most of the fine hand tools in our catalog to appreciate over the years, we hope that none of them appreciate for the same reason as the Tidey plane.

Yours sincerely,

Leonard G. Lee
President

P.S. The owner of the Tidey plane, Bob Buisson, prefers not to publish his address; this avoids someone collecting his plane without his permission.

 
 


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